Saturday, November 29, 2014

The God of Noses

Bart Barber posted over at SBC Voices the following lyrics by Rich Mullins.* I liked the beginning of the text, which points to a future Utopia that is more real than all the Utopias men hope to find here on earth.

 I believe there is a place
 Where people live in perfect peace
 Where there is food on every plate
 Where work is rewarded and rest is sweet
 Where the color of your skin
 Won't get you in or keep you out
 Where justice reigns and truth finally wins
 Its hard fought war against fear and doubt.

Won't it be wonderful there, having no burdens to bear?

*The entire text can be found there and other places.

Sprinkled Baptists, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* 10 Bizarre Ways to Die -- "Isadora Duncan, a popular American dancer in the 1920s, was strangled to death after her scarf got caught up in the axle of the car she was riding in."
* 10 Features of Superb Sleepers -- "They don't view sleep as an escape from waking nor as time subtracted from it, but as an experience that absolutely enhances life."
* Gay debate challenges traditional definitions of ‘evangelical’ -- "...for most evangelicals, it was more or less a given that all sexuality outside of man-woman marriage is sinful. Not so much anymore."
* Homosexuality May Have Evolved In Humans Because It Helps Us Bond, Scientists Say -- "An intriguing theory, for sure. But not everyone is buying the new research."
* Ministerial Ordination -- "I do not believe that ministerial ordination, as traditionally practiced in Baptist churches, has a biblical basis."
Student punished for preaching sues Everett school district -- “Leal is described in the lawsuit as a 'young man who is a practitioner of the Christian faith' who believes he should convey his beliefs to others.”
* The Best Sandwich From Each State -- "...Business Insider...went around the country to determine each state's best sandwich."
* The painful backlash against ‘no-excuses’ school discipline -- "New Orleans schools, which have taken the experiment with paternalistic public education to a new extreme, have been at the forefront of extending regimented discipline to the high school level.
* The SPRINKLED Baptist Convention? -- "We have never before created a class of sprinkled Southern Baptists."

Friday, November 28, 2014

Isaac Watts

At the age of seven, the one-day-to-be-Father-of-English-hymnody Isaac Watts wrote an acrostic poem spelling out the letters of his name. It was as follows:

"I" - I am a vile, polluted lump of earth 
"S" - So I've continued ever since my birth 
"A" - Although Jehovah, grace doth daily give me 
"A" - As sure this monster, Satan, will deceive me 
"C" - Come therefore, Lord, from Satan's claws relieve me.

"W" - Wash me in Thy blood, O Christ 
"A" - And grace divine impart 
"T" - Then search and try the corners of my heart 
"T" - That I in all things may be fit to do 
"S" - Service to Thee, and Thy praise too.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving quotes

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." -- Paul, to the church at Thessalonica

"Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." — William Arthur Ward

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." -- Melody Beattie

"Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference." -- Thomas Merton

"Who does not thank for little will not thank for much." -- Estonian Proverb

"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever." -- 1 Chronicles 16:34

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -- John F. Kennedy

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." -- William Arthur Ward

"Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude." -- A. A. Milne

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." -- Paul, to the Colossian Church

"Thanksgiving is a special virtue. But ingratitude is opposed to thanksgiving. Therefore ingratitude is a special sin." -- Thomas Aquinas

"If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get." -- Frank W. Clark

"Thanksgiving--giving thanks in everything--prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ." -- Ann Voskamp

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." -- Psalm 100:4

Thou that has given so much to me,
Give one thing more -- a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleases me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise.
By George Herbert

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 important truths about life

Comments, Scriptures and Hymns on five important truths about life

Life: "the animate existence or period of animate existence of an individual." (

Job 14:1-2 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

Some important truths about life are self-evident. Others require that God show them to us. Below are five important truths about life, three which are understood by most folks, and two (while just as true) are often denied or misunderstood.

1. An inconvenient truth: Life is short even at its longest.

Job tells us we are of few days. Life is brief, which other inspired writers testify, and which fallen man knows by his own experience. The brevity of life is an inconvenient truth -- not suiting one's wants. It is awkward and gets in the way of living forever. Many biblicists believe the world as we know it has existed for six to ten millennia. Even a life extended into the hundreds, as a few long-livers of whom we hear, is but a brief moment in light of that length of time. Though wrong, evolutionists consider the world in terms of billions and billions of years. How insignificant to that span would be our paltry stay here on earth? The God of creation deals not in time, but in eternity. To him a thousand years is as day. How insignificant are we in comparison?

Job 9:25 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.
Isaiah 40:6-8  The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
James 4:14 ...For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Time! what an empty vapor ‘tis!
Our days, how swift they are,–
Swift as an Indian arrow flies,
Or like a shooting star.

Death, like an overflowing stream,
Sweeps us away; our life’s a dream,
An empty tale, a morning flow’r,
Cut down and withered in an hour.

2. An unpleasant truth: Life is hard and troublesome at its best.

The harsh realities of life are unpleasant. They smudge and scratch our rose covered glasses; they firmly block all our escape routes. In this world of sin and sorrow, the effects of sin are all too real to dismiss and no one escapes them. No, not even by wealth, power or prestige. Even in the most affluent times and situations, man finds his demons inevitably find him.

Ecclesiastes 2:23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
Job 5:6-7 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

My life is spent with grief, I cried,
My years consumed with groans;
My strength decays, mine eyes are dried,
And sorrow wastes my bones.
Among mine enemies my name
Was a mere proverb grown,
While to my neighbors I became
Forgotten and unknown.

3. An apparent truth: Life is always seeking to end in death, even when it begins.

"The living know that they must die." Death is certain. It is the end of all life. The Bible and the obituary sections of our newspapers agree in their testimony. From infants in the womb to centenarians; the high, the low; the rich, the poor; all races, all ages, all places. Death is universal. It is one thing we know. It is one thing on which we agree.

Hebrews 9:27 is appointed unto men once to die...
Ecclesiastes 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
James 1:15 ...sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Our life is ever on the wing,
And death is ever nigh;
The moment when our lives begin,
We all begin to die.

Death, ’tis a melancholy day
To those who have no God,
When the poor soul is forced away,
To seek her last abode.

4. An essential truth: Life is the time to serve the Lord.

Life, that brief span between our time to be born and our time to die, is the time to prepare to meet God. Mankind often does not take the one thing he knows -- the certainty of death -- and apply to it wisdom. Wisdom tells us to remember God while there is life and while there is hope. When the living tree of our lives transform into the felled tree of death -- where that tree has fallen is where it shall be.

Ecclesiastes 11:3 ...and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

Life is the time to serve the Lord,
The time t’ensure the great reward;
And while the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return.

5. An encouraging truth: Life is not the end of our existence.

Loretta Lynn once sang, "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die." Isaac Watts wrote, "Death is the gate of endless joy, and yet we dread to enter there." To fallen man, death is our enemy, the end of our animate life. But that animate temporal life is not the end of our existence. Providentially, God engages our last enemy to transfer the Christian into His presence! Death is an end, but it is not an eternal end. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:19-20 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

When from the dead He raised His Son
And called Him to the sky,
He gave our souls a living hope
That they should never die.

[Note: All poems quoted are by Isaac Watts.]

More Scriptures and hymns on life

Job 7:6 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.
Psalm 78:39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
Psalm 102:11 My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
1 Chronicles 29:15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
John 16:33 ...In the world ye shall have tribulation...
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I’m but a sojourner below,
As all my fathers were;
May I be well prepared to go
When I the summons hear.
But if my life be spared awhile,
Before my last remove,
Thy praise shall be my bus’ness still
And I’ll declare Thy love.

Should earth against my soul engage,
And fiery darts by hurled,
Then I can smile at Satan’s rage,
And face a frowning world.
Let cares like a wild deluge come,
And storms of sorrow fall!
May I but safely reach my home,
My God, my heav’n, my all.

Buried in sorrow and in sin;
At hell’s dark door we lay,
But we arise by grace divine,
To see a heav’nly day.

There is a land of pure delight,
Where saints immortal reign;
Infinite day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain.
There everlasting spring abides
And never fading flow’rs;
Death, like a narrow sea, divides
This heav’nly land from ours.

Broad is the road that leads to death,
And thousands walk together there;
But wisdom shows narrow a path,
With here and there a traveler.

Death, like an overflowing stream,
Sweeps us away; our life’s a dream,
An empty tale, a morning flow’r,
Cut down and withered in an hour.
Our age to sev’nty years is set;
How short the time! How frail the state!
And if to eighty we arrive,
We’d rather sigh and groan than live.
Teach us, Oh Lord, how frail is man;
And kindly lengthen out the span,
Till a wise care of piety
Fit us to die and dwell with Thee.

Why should we start or fear to die,
What tim’rous worms we mortals are;
Death ’tis the gate to endless joy,
But still we dread to enter there.

[Note: All hymns quoted are by Isaac Watts.]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

When Angels Dance, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* Another rude Obamacare surprise awaits -- "People who didn’t have health insurance during 2014 may soon have to pay a penalty fee that starts at $95 and goes up based on how much you earn."

* Debate over Christian club at Wantagh High School on Long Island -- "According to the Equal Access Act of 1984 it's unconstitutional not to allow faith-based clubs."
* Here’s What Happens to Your Data After You Die -- "...before you die and leave your family a mess of locked-down digital assets...There are three key things you need to do..."
* NAACP sues the Radiance Foundation for exercising right to Free Speech -- "The ACLU of Virginia and the Electronic Frontier Foundation file an amicus brief on behalf of The Radiance Foundation’s First Amendment rights to criticize an organization through parody."
* So You Think Theology Is Impractical? -- "When Angels Dance: The Practical Value of “Impractical” Questions...what sounds like a purely speculative question about the nature of angels is really a question about the fundamental nature of the universe itself. If the universe contains both spiritual and physical realities, how do they relate to each other?"
* Student punished for preaching sues Everett school district -- “Leal is described in the lawsuit as a 'young man who is a practitioner of the Christian faith' who believes he should convey his beliefs to others.”
Study Suggests Genetic Link for Male Homosexuality -- "Experts not involved in the study were more skeptical."
What Philippians 4:6-7 Bible Passage Can Teach Us About Managing Anxiety Today -- "Brandon Dale, a Brown University student, said he often turns to Biblical study to deal with school pressures and anxiety -- and he finds this one to be particularly powerful because of its complexity."
* Will Satanist material, Bibles both be banned from some Florida schools? -- "...the school board has discussed the possibility of revoking the policy allowing distribution of religious literature..."

A Voice We Loved is Stilled

Mr. Raymond Cooper Hamrick died Monday, November 24, 2014 in the 99th year of his life. He was born on June 14, 1915 in Macon, Georgia. He was a master jeweler and watchmaker. He was "a voice we loved" in the Sacred Harp community. He was a singer and composer, served the Sacred Harp Publishing Company on the board of directors, as president for four terms, and on the 1991 Revision Committee. His was a unique and compelling personality that endeared him to singers of all ages, places and backgrounds. Though this voice we love "is stilled" his music that fills every heart and tongue, overflows our lips, and unveils the beauties of God's face, lives on in The 1991 Edition of The Sacred Harp and The Georgian Harmony.

Mr. Hamrick's services and burial will be Wednesday, December 3 at Evergreen Cemetery, Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. Singers will, Lord willing, sing his tunes Lloyd and Christian's Farewell.

Brethren, farewell, I do you tell,
I’m sorry to leave, I love you so well.
Now I must go, where I don’t know,
Wherever Christ leads me the trumpet to blow.

Here I have worked, labored awhile,
But labor is sweet if Jesus doth smile.
When I am done, I will go home
Where Jesus is smiling and bids me to come.
From Benjamin Lloyd's Primitive Hymns, No. 621

Monday, November 24, 2014

Music news and views

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* A Sketch of the Life of James Martin Hamrick -- "My first recollection was when I was three years old. I went with Mother to the burial of a Mrs. Cruse, who was placed away with her infant in her arms..."

* American Tunes in West Gallery Sources -- "...America had a great impact on religious music in Britain between 1770 and 1860 as well."
* Choral Public Domain Library 4-Shape Shapenote Editions -- "Mostly early American songs not readily available in modern books in shape note format"
* Come Sound His Praise Abroad: A Report on the First Germany Sacred Harp Convention -- "Aside from Germans, there were singers in attendance from England, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, and the United States."
 * Gay singers test country music's appeal -- "Being a gay male country artist is not the best thing," Gilman said.
* Sacred Harp Singing and the Christian Eschatological Imagination -- "In many ways, these components of Sacred Harp singing are a mirror image of Christian eschatology."
* The Great Lost Doors Movie Reveals 'How Jim Really Was' -- "John Densmore and Robby Krieger talk about finally getting the band's abandoned 1968 film 'Feats of Friends' released: "It's a document of a time."
* The Old World Seeks the Old Paths: Observing Our Transnationally Expanding Singing Community -- "...the tradition’s widening beyond US borders has exceeded the most imaginative predictions of the 1970s and 1980s."
* Tye Tribbett Nominated For BET AWARD In Best Gospel Artist Category -- "This is Tribbett’s first nomination and is being recognized for his hit album GREATER THAN."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Go, worship at Immanuel's feet

1. Go, worship at Immanuel's feet,
See in his face what wonders meet!
Earth is too narrow to express
His worth, his glory, or his grace.

2. The whole creation can afford
But some faint shadows of my Lord;
Nature, to make his beauties known,
Must mingle colors not her own.

3. Is he compared to wine or bread?
Dear Lord, our souls would thus be fed
That flesh, that dying blood of thine,
Is bread of life, is heav'nly wine.

4. Is he a tree? The world receives
Salvation from his healing leaves;
That righteous branch, that fruitful bough,
Is David's root and offspring too.

5. Is he a rose? Not Sharon yields
Such fragrancy in all her fields:
Or if the lily he assume,
The valleys bless the rich perfume.

6. Is he a vine? His heav'nly root
Supplies the boughs with life and fruit
O let a lasting union join
My soul the branch to Christ the vine!

7. Is he the head? Each member lives,
And owns the vital powers he gives;
The saints below and saints above
Joined by his Spirit and his love.

8. Is he a fountain? There I bathe,
And heal the plague of sin and death
These waters all my soul renew,
And cleanse my spotted garments too.

9. Is he a fire? He'll purge my dross;
But the true gold sustains no loss:
Like a refiner shall he sit,
And tread the refuse with his feet.

10. Is he a rock? How firm he proves!
The Rock of ages never moves;
Yet the sweet streams that from him flow
Attend us all the desert through.

11. Is he a way? He leads to God,
The path is drawn in lines of blood;
There would I walk with hope and zeal,
Till I arrive at Zion's hill.

12. Is he a door? I'll enter in
Behold the pastures large and green,
A paradise divinely fair;
None but the sheep have freedom there.

13. Is he designed the corner-stone,
For men to build their heav'n upon?
I'll make him my foundation too,
Nor fear the plots of hell below.

14. Is he a temple? I adore
Th' indwelling majesty and power
And still to this most holy place,
Whene'er I pray, I turn my face.

15. Is he a star? He breaks the night
Piercing the shades with dawning light;
I know his glories from afar,
I know the bright, the morning star.

16. Is he a sun? His beams are grace,
His course is joy and righteousness;
Nations rejoice when he appears
To chase their clouds and dry their tears.

17. O let me climb those higher skies,
Where storms and darkness never rise!
There he displays his power abroad,
And shines and reigns th' incarnate God.

18. Nor earth, nor seas, nor sun, nor stars,
Nor heav'n, his full resemblance bears;
His beauties we can never trace,
Till we behold him face to face.

* Go Worship at Immanuel's Feet -- By Isaac Watts

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Koran is Misunderstood?

In Quran Is Not for Muslims, Mike Ghouse traces much of the "misunderstanding" of Islam to the mistranslation of the Koran/Quran, some of which he says was done purposely. He writes, "It may be worth your while to see the list of the mistranslated verses and how the fear mongers in the market have capitalized on those. The best way to understand Quran is to remember, 'If it is not about justice, mercy and creating harmony', then the translation is wrong. Go back and read it several times, three verse before the 'wrongfully maligned' verse and three afterwards, and read at least three to four translations."

But he goes on to say that the "Quran in Arabic is precisely same and well preserved, but its translation and interpretations are not." So this IS NOT just a misunderstanding of mistranslations. Just like other religions, there are different viewpoints as to the meaning of their sacred scriptures. And it seems to me that a lot of Arabic readers have the most violent interpretations of it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

History quotes

"Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects." -- Herodotus

"If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday." -- Pearl S. Buck

Some write a narrative of wars and feats,
Of heroes little known, and call the rant
A history.
--William Cowper

"All that the historians give us are little oases in the desert of time, and we linger fondly in these, forgetting the vast tracks between one and another that were trodden by the weary generations of men." -- John Alfred Spender

Woe unto the defeated,
whom history treads
into the dust.
--Arthur Koestler

"The past actually happened, but history is only what someone wrote down." -- A. Whitney Brown

"It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts." -- Bill Vaughan

"History teaches us the mistakes we are going to make." -- Unknown

"It is not worthwhile to try to keep history from repeating itself, for man's character will always make the preventing of the repetitions impossible." -- Mark Twain

"History is the witness of time, the lamp of truth, the embodied soul of memory, the instructress of life, and the messenger of antiquity." -- Cicero

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Another example of LGBT bullying

* Thousands Sign Petition To Cancel TLC's '19 Kids And Counting' Over Stars' Anti-LGBT Sentiments

Huff Post reports on a petition to cancel '19 Kids And Counting'. According to the creator of the petition: "The Duggars have been using their fame to promote discrimination, hate, and fear-mongering against gays and transgendered people," Wissick wrote in a letter to TLC which was posted on the petition page. "You need to take a stand on the side of justice and cancel their show."

This illustrates the viewpoint intolerance of some of the LGBT lobby and its supporters. I wouldn't know anything about '19 Kids And Counting' if I didn't hear others talk about it. I have never watched it and have not desire to do so. I don't petition to cancel LGBT, socialist, porno or other shows whose viewpoints with which I don't agree. Such is bullying them off the networks, not winning by the triumph of truth. Why not speak what you believe -- and if you don't want to watch something, just don't watch it!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gettysburg, its battles and addresses

From July 1 to July 3, 1863, the "Battle of Gettysburg" was fought between Union and Confederate soldiers in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania -- with horrendous outcome, the loss of about 23,000 Union soldiers (wounded, captured or missing) and 23,000 to 28,000 Confederate casualties (wounded, captured or missing).

About four months later the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was held November 19, 1863. The Cemetery was created for re-interments from the Gettysburg Battlefield of those soldiers who had been hastily buried there.

The main speaker at the memorial was Edward Everett (1794–1865), who reportedly delivered a two-hour speech. Everett was from Massachusetts, a renowned speaker, former pastor and politician (which included U. S. Representative, U. S. Senator and Governor of Massachusetts). President Lincoln's "Dedicatory Remarks" followed Everett's oration and a song, and preceded another song and the benediction by Henry L. Baugher, a Lutheran clergyman and president of Gettysburg College.

Everett's two-hour speech was not unusual for the time and was apparently well received. Over the years his oration has receded from view while Lincoln's "Dedicatory Remarks" have taken center stage.

Gettysburg links
* 151 years ago, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address connected a nation to 1776 -- " both the sword that secured our national direction at a cost of 50,000 men in three days, and the address spoken by Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 19, 1863..."
* Did Abraham Lincoln omit God from the Gettysburg Address? -- "...there are at least nine versions of the Gettysburg Address from the time period, with some in Lincoln’s handwriting. All are slightly different..."
* Gettysburg 150 – A Southern Perspective -- "On July 3 [2013] a reading of the Roll of the Dead began at the National Cemetery and for the first time in history, the name of both Union and Confederate were read.  Prior to this, only Union names were read at such occasions.
* Gettysburg Oration by Edward Everett -- "But they, I am sure, will join us in saying, as we bid farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes, that wheresoever throughout the civilized world the accounts of this great warfare are read, and down to the latest period of recorded time, in the glorious annals of our common country, there will be no brighter page than that which relates The Battles of Gettysburg."
* History & Culture Gettysburg National Military Park -- " The fate of the nation literally hung in the balance that summer of 1863 when General Robert E. Lee, commanding the "Army of Northern Virginia", led his army north into Maryland and Pennsylvania, bringing the war directly into northern territory.
* Myths and mysteries about the Gettysburg Address -- “Edward Everett was the featured speaker of the day...he told Lincoln, 'I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.'”
* Read six different versions of the Gettysburg Address -- "There were five versions of the Gettysburg Address that were acknowledged by Abraham Lincoln in his lifetime."
* The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 -- "Tillie Pierce was born in 1848 and when the battle began, had lived all her life in the village of Gettysburg...She was attending school on June 26 when the cry 'the Rebels are coming!' reverberated through the town's sleepy streets."
* The Battle of Gettysburg - Pickett's Charge - A Confederate Official Report -- "He stopped but for a moment to look on his dying son, gave him his canteen of water, and pressed on..."
* The Battle of Gettysburg Summary & Facts -- "As many as 51,000 soldiers from both armies were killed, wounded, captured or missing in the three-day battle."
* The Other Gettysburg Address -- “Mr. Everett was listened to with breathless silence by all that immense crowd, and he had his audience in tears many times during his masterly effort.”
* Today in Media History: Reporters describe Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg Address -- "Depending on their political leanings, newspapers added their own comment to coverage of the speech...Newspapers critical of the President had snide things to say about the speech’s brevity and inappropriateness to the occasion. Lincoln supporters, on the other hand, published glowing reviews and noted the classical elegance and heartfelt emotion of the address."

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
The brave and daring few.
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.
[From Theodore O’Hara, The Bivouac of the Dead, 1847]

Half of Britons, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* Are Bible believing Christians obligated to obey the government all the time? -- "Our framers set religious freedom as a high priority and included the practice of religion without interference from the government or anyone else in the wording of the First Amendment."
* Half of Britons think religion does more harm than good -- "Even a fifth of those who see themselves as devout say religion is harmful to society, study finds."
* I'm a Liberal Democrat. I'm Voting for Rand Paul in 2016. -- "Rand Paul is my candidate in 2016, even though the Tea Party would consider me Joseph Stalin's love child...Eric Holder actually answered that theoretically, yes, drone strikes to kill Americans on U.S. soil could be viewed as legal, depending on the circumstance. If this doesn't frighten you, then vote for Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush, since neither one cares about this matter."
* School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace -- "Christian students at a Colorado public high school were told they could no longer meet to pray, sing religious songs or discuss religious topics during free time..."
* Scofield and His Bible -- "The impact of the Scofield Bible...reshaped the culture of evangelicalism."
* Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Green Bay Packers -- "Early on in their history, the Green Bay Packers were the Acme Packers, taking their name from the Acme Packing Company."
* 5 Things Never to Ask in a Job Interview -- "The wrong questions, however, can tank even the best interview."
* 6 Ways Religion Does More Bad Than Good -- "What if harming society is part of religion’s survival strategy?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The devil’s forgotten the refrain

The lines below come from the song Embracing Accusation by Shane and Shane. In this song they talk about Satan's accusations. I'm not a big fan of the song itself (musically), but I really like the way the song ends with Satan singing an old song of which he forgot the chorus!

Oh the devil’s singing over me
An age old song
That I am cursed and gone astray
Singing the first verse so conveniently
He’s forgotten the refrain--
Jesus saves!

From "Embracing Accusation" by Shane and Shane. Words by Shane Barnard.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Oldest restaurant and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* The Oldest Restaurant in Every State -- "...we tracked down...the oldest continuously operating eateries in America."
* 90-year-old Florida man cited for feeding homeless -- again -- "Arnold Abbott and his team of chefs set up shop Wednesday night on Fort Lauderdale Beach and dished out free food to the homeless."
* FDR’s third-term election and the 22nd amendment -- " the campaign, Roosevelt insisted that he was in the race to keep America out of war in Europe..."
* 'Gay cake' row: Fr Tim Bartlett withdraws engagement with gay groups over cake case -- "I will be writing today to those groups from the gay community, with whom I have had a very constructive and ongoing engagement in recent years, to say that I am withdrawing my engagement until the right of all people, in this case Christians, to freedom of conscience is vindicated and respected by the Equality Commission and the gay community."
* Gay marriage ruling means high court review likely -- "The march toward gay marriage across the U.S. hit a roadblock Thursday when a federal appeals court upheld laws against the practice in four states..."
* Mob lynches Christian couple in Pakistan -- "All of Pakistan's minorities feel that the state fails to protect them, and even tolerates violence against them."
* Some Interesting Facts about Ulysses S. Grant -- "Grant’s real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant...Grant was elected President of the United States in March 1869. At the time he was the youngest American President at age 46."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Merely possessing a tolerably good ear

In the preface to his 1803 tune book, titled David's Harp, Englishman William E. Miller indicated he didn't think much of us composers who are "destitute of scientific knowledge."
Many persons, destitute of scientific knowledge, and merely possessing a tolerably good ear, think themselves qualified to compose hymns, set them to music, and have them performed in their chapels; but these compositions only expose their authors to ridicule, by the meagre style of their poetry, and the frivolity and indecency of their music.
A number of these effusions of folly and ignorance have lately been brought over from America, which expose an important part of the worship of God to the merited censure of the judicious, and to sorrow of the truly pious, while some of the best hymns and most appropriate tunes in the English language are laid aside, and nearly forgotten.
Oh, well...

Words of William Seeker

"A principle by which a Christian should walk, is this: That there is no judging of the inward conditions of men by the outward dispensations of God.

"The greatness of our estates is no argument of the goodness of our hearts. To prize ourselves by what we have, and not by what we are, is to estimate the value of the jewel by the golden frame which contains it. Grace and gold can live together; but the smallest degree of the former in the heart, is preferable to a chain of the latter about the neck...

The abundance of the infidel is as a golden chain to bind him to the earth, and the apparent miseries of the believer are as fiery chariots to convey him to heaven." -- William Seeker, 1660

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Medieval practices and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* 10 little-known facts about the ultimate patriot, John Adams -- "Adams represented British soldiers accused in the Boston massacre."
* 12 Famous People Who Were Actually Spies -- "Before Julia Child became the cooking guru, she was engaged in cloak and dagger activities as an employee of the Office of the Strategic Services."
* 15 Medieval Hygiene Practices That Might Make You Queasy -- "Chamberpots?"
* A Catholic church schism under Pope Francis isn’t out of the question -- "The conservative backlash against the liberal pope’s authority has been fierce, and is gathering momentum."
* Constitution Check: Do the federal courts lack the authority to rule on same-sex marriage? -- "Just last week, what had been academic conjecture became a live issue in a federal court, as South Carolina officials raised the claim that the “domestic relations” exception took away those courts’ authority to hear and decade a challenge to a same-sex marriage ban."
* Evangelical Leader Denounces Ex-Gay Therapy -- "Some Christians are debating whether identifying as gay or having a same-sex orientation is itself unbiblical."
* Joel Osteen endorses Obama just before midterms -- "...Osteen's “I'm okay, you're okay” milk toast sermons are far from Bible-based...he preaches the New Age religion under a Christian label."
* Ministering in the Aftermath: A Message from Dr. Albert Mohler -- "Placing sexuality within the meta-narrative of Scripture and submitting to its sufficiency and authority will be the starting point for Christians today."
* The State of Theology: New Findings on America’s Theological Health -- "This study demonstrates the stunning gap in theological awareness throughout our nation, in our neighborhoods, and even in the seat next to us at church."
* Transgender: When Psychological Identity Trumps Bodily Identity -- "Fox News did an anonymous interview in 2009 with a person named “John” who has...has suffered psychological angst his entire life because of his two legs. Even as an adult after 47 years of marriage, he still wishes and hopes to have one of his legs amputated..."
* What Led You To Become An Atheist? Some Surprising Answers -- "Most of them had a church background and had chosen atheism in reaction to Christianity."

Friday, November 14, 2014

"America in Crimson Red" and other book reviews

* 1-3 John: Fellowship in God’s Family -- "Allen’s 1-3 John volume is an intensely-theological and bountifully-footnoted work of a master expositor."
* A Review of 'Upon This Rock' -- "This reviewer believes that this book is helpful in understanding why Baptist hold the line on their distinctives while some others in Christianity are blurring the line."
* America’s Pastor, by Grant Wacker -- "Let it be said at once: this is the best book ever written about Billy Graham."
* Book Review: America in Crimson Red -- "There are many great reasons for anyone to read this book, but I would just like to mention one name – Shubal Stearns."
* Book Briefs: The Praise of Folly: The Enigmatic Life and Theology of C.I. Scofield by David Lutzweiler -- "The book is a fascinating read, no matter what side of the dispensational-covenantal divide you find yourself on."
* Calvinism and the SBC: A Review of "Whosoever Will" -- "The book itself is a mix of popular works and scholarly essays."
* Book Review – The Making of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message -- "One of the strengths of this work is the heavy amount of research done to back up each assertion."

What Do Christians Supporting Gay Marriage Say About the Bible?

In an article at Huffington Post, Malcolm Clemens Young (a Reverend Doctor in the Episcopal Church) attempts to answer What Do Christians Supporting Gay Marriage Say About the Bible?.

First they must dismiss clear statements in the Old Testament. Since it has a lot of rules no longer applicable we can safely assume this one is not applicable today. He raises the issue "How do we know which commandments we should guard with our lives and which ones make little sense in our context?" As far as I could tell, he never actually answers it. But since  we ignore the rule of plowing an ox and ass together, surely we can ignore women having sex with women and men having sex with men.

Now, having driven any right to speak to the issue into the New Testament, they must The first order of business is to highlight the fact that Jesus did not directly condemn the practice. Young writes, "It certainly is not prohibited in the gospels," and "Jesus does not explicitly mention it." This ignores the fact that Young and many other same-sex supporters find many things they think are wrong that are not "explicitly" addressed in the four gospels. It also, to readers in the know, implies that the rest of the New Testament is not as authoritative as the gospels. While Jesus may not have explicitly condemned homosexuality, He nevertheless condemned it in His positive teaching on marriage. Jesus condemned all sexual relations outside of marraige, which He based on the one man-one woman model established by God and recorded in Genesis 1:27.

Young characterizes the apostle Paul writing "briefly but also cryptically" on the subject -- so that he has "no idea what kind of relationship he is talking about." Further, "this issue certainly is not the heart of his message." Heart of his message or not, it was part of Paul's message -- a part that has not been unclear for 2000 years until some people called Christians decided they want to do something different.

What do Christians supporting "Gay Marriage" say about the Bible? They sometimes "say" things that obfuscate, confuse and emasculate the Bible of its authority. What do they "do"? Mostly they do what most others do -- take the parts of the Bible that they like and leave off the rest. Right or wrong, they're not doing something that American Christians haven't been teaching themselves and others to do for years & years.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bible review

BPS Wide Margin Bible, KJV (SKU 00000)

I have just purchased the Bearing Precious Seed Wide Margin Bible. I purchased several wide margin Bibles over the years. In the mid to late 80s I bought a KWM-14-5941 World Bible Publishers Wide Margin Bible. I was super-satisfied with it -- wore it down and even black duct taped the binding to get a few more years out of it. By the time I wanted to purchase another it was no longer available. Wearying of searching for it, in 2008 I finally succumbed and bought an Oxford Wide Margin Bible, KJV Reference Edition (ISBNs: 9780191179518/ 0191179515). It is a very nice well manufactured Bible. But it is monstrously large, thick and heavy. Any wide margin Bible is going to be larger than normal, but this one was larger than larger than normal! I have never been satisfied with the size. I was satisfied otherwise. The acid-free paper is thick, so there is no bleed-through from writing in it. There are 20 blank note pages before the maps, 20 pages of maps and 48 pages of lined paper after the maps. These nice effects, though, are part of the trade-off and cause for the Bible being so big. It is about 2-1/4" thick and weighs almost 4 lbs. (3.8 by my scale). It has nice wide margins that go all the way around. Many so-called wide margin Bibles only have wide margins at the top, bottom and outside edges, but not on the inside of the page. If you don't mind the bulk and weight, this may be the Bible for you.

A couple of years back I found the BPS Wide Margin Bible. My Oxford was still new enough that I just couldn't decide to purchase another Bible. Finally, my resolve strengthened and I ordered from BPS last week.

Initial reaction? I like it. Here are some things about it:
·        no cross-references
·        no book outlines or introductions
·        no marginal notes
·        no footnotes
·        no words of Christ in red

These may be negatives for some Bible purchasers, but those are things I was looking for. The Bible text is "normal size" (not large or small print). The text may not be quite as bold as the Oxford mentioned above. There is a 1" margin on the insides and outsides of each page, with about 1-1/2" margin at the top and bottom of the pages. The Bible weighs a little less than 2-1/2 lbs. (2.4 by my scale) and is about 1-3/8" thick -- much smaller than the Oxford Bible. It's dimensions are about 10" X 7".

The Bearing Precious Seed Wide Margin Bible is truly a "Study" Bible. No, it is not a "Study Bible" in the traditional sense -- not one in which you study someone else's notes.* Yes, it is a "Study" Bible in the purest sense -- it is a Bible in which you read and study the Bible alone. Then, if you wish, you can make your own notes!

A couple of reviews of Bearing Precious Seed Bibles I found on YouTube:

Note 1: A "Study Bible" is a Bible text with notes and references added. This includes (usually) cross references, a summary of the each book of the Bible, and explanatory notes or commentary on selected passages. It may also be called a "Reference Bible".
Note 2: I have no objection to "study notes" or commentary. I just think our initial encounter with the Bible should be with the Bible alone and not include the distractions men have added to it (as much as is practical).